There are a couple of ways to look at this. Let’s focus on the positive first.
Businesses in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region are stepping up in a big way to help the needy in the area.
While this is nothing new, it seems this time to be an over-the-top effort.
The Parksville Rotary Club, the one that meets at noon Tuesdays at the Bayside, is mostly a collection of local business people. Members, especially local accountant Bonnie Wallis, say they have been reading in The NEWS about the plight of the homeless and less fortunate of our region.
When the club received $3,180 from the Beachfest Society for its volunteer work during the festival this summer, Wallis went to Rotary members and suggested they take that entire amount and turn it over to Manna Ministries, the self-described (accurately) “911 of the street.” This group, led by Robin Campbell, knows about the day-to-day, hour-to-hour needs of the less fortunate of our region as good or better than any organization.
As detailed in a story in today’s paper, Manna quickly turned that money into food, tents, clothes — welcome items during a stretch of time where we’ve had more than a month of almost daily rain.
Coming soon are details about another group of business people stepping up to supply and support the extreme weather shelter that is expected to open within a week. We don’t want to spoil the announcement, but suffice to say it’s another above-and-beyond effort from the business community, one that may keep the shelter open on nights when it’s not deemed to be extreme weather.
If it’s true a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable, needy members, then the Parksville business community is admirably filling the void.
There is too much cyclical buck-passing in our system of government. The municipal governments say they don’t have the money to deal with social-services matters, and they are correct. The provincial government talks about priorities or pours services into the bigger centres, leaving Parksvilles and Qualicum Beaches and Erringtons of the world to fend for themselves. In between are the regional districts, and your guess is as good as ours on where they fit in when it comes to social services. The provincial government, ultimately responsible for all things health care, is consistently asking for more transfer-payment money from the federal government.
All this talk happens from 9-5 in offices while a woman, or a man, or a family, huddles in the bushes under tents and tarps, just trying to stay warm and dry.
Thank goodness for the aforementioned business community.
— Editorial by John Harding